New Dallas Cowboys Cornerbacks Mean Nothing for Defense

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Now, I’m not suggesting that Carr and Claiborne are no better than Newman and Jenkins at this point in time. To the point, the issue is the fact that Jones believed that new cornerbacks, heavily marginalized in today’s pass-happy NFL, were the key to a better defense.

Oct 27, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA;Detroit Lions running back Reggie Bush (21) stiff arms Dallas Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne (24) during 1st half of a game at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Taking a quick glance at the Dallas trenches tells you all you need to know about where this team is right now, on both sides of the ball. Playing “Monday morning quarterback” is always an exercise in futility, but sometimes it’s just so easy—and glaring.

Jones lost his way on the defensive line by ignoring the fact that former Dallas defensive lineman Jay Ratliff was not a good choice at nose guard in that 3-4 thing—and I don’t care about the Pro Bowls. Ratliff received those honors mainly because he did get a high number of sacks for a nose guard. It’s not like he ever scored double-digit sacks in a single season though. I maintain that Ratliff could have been one of the best 3-4 defensive ends in the NFL had the Cowboys ever landed a true, space-eating nose guard to help clog the middle that was pried open too often by so many double-teams against the dramatically undersized Ratliff.

Beyond Ratliff’s recent departure, you already know the other names along defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin’s new 4-3 front that are not or will not be on the field in 2013.

This is precisely why Dallas has the NFL’s worst defense, which obviously includes the worst passing defense.

Does this look very much different than the last few seasons?

Of course not. Dallas is sporting mediocrity at a rate that many aren’t even aware of, especially over the last few seasons.

Same problem is seen on the other side of the line. The Cowboys can’t run the ball and they are absolutely nothing to write home about in pass-protection. If not for the mobility and play-making of quarterback Tony Romo, this team might only have a couple of victories this season.

The 2012 free-agent signings of offensive guards Mackenzy Bernadeau and Nate Livings were deplorable, the latter of those two has already been released and the former apparently gets his starting job back only because his replacement, recently retired Brian Waters, is now done for the season—and possibly for good.

No, cornerbacks were not the answer.

On the contrary, young, blue-chip talent on the offensive line was and still is the answer for a Dallas roster that has plenty of corps veterans that are all passed the age of 30 and are only getting older.

It was believed that the Cowboys would focus entirely on the interior of both lines during the early rounds of the 2013 player selection meeting last spring. They grabbed a second or third round-caliber center with their first selection and didn’t bother with as many as one defensive lineman in any round.

Want to place bets on what direction Dallas takes in next year’s draft? Forget big money spent on free agents again because there won’t be much, if any.

The good news is that the Cowboys have good corners locked up for the future.

The bad news is that this franchise is probably a couple of years away from really cashing in on those investments.

Two sacks in three games, each losses, against quarterbacks like Peyton Manning of the Denver Broncos, Phillip Rivers of the San Diego Chargers and Matthew Stafford of Detroit simply won’t get it done.

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Topics: Brandon Carr, Dallas Cowboys, Morris Claiborne

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  • SmartThinking

    No defensive secondary in the game of professional football can ever be successful without constant, relentless pressure on the quarterback from the defensive line. For two years now Jerry Jones has spent all his rookie draft seed corn on offensive weapons rather than focusing on building up the Cowboys on both offensive lines of the football. Romo takes his life in his hands virtually every snap. And now that the anchor, Brian Waters is gone, Bernadeau is going to be a sieve for opposing defensive tackles. Jones has asked too much from the linebackers and the secondary. And now, it’s only going to get worse as this season finishes. My prediction is that Dallas wins the division after a photo finish with New York. But really, what will they have won with this division’s competition in even sorrier shape than the Cowboys. A hollow, meaningless victory for one week at best. Then Dallas will have to face the 49ers in what will be the football equivalent of San Francisco clubbing baby seals. Dallas fans deserve better, especially from an owner who, if he could only get his monumental ego out of the way, could pay for a winner for the next decade.

  • Chuey

    The o line and d line are the things that Jerry had to address and again it wasnt important to him. You dont build a house for the top down and the same goes for the franchise! A franchise QB bring protected by not so talented players! And CB’s can only cover for so long without losing their man. Long story short its been built a** backwards!! If this is how its been built we need to get going fast and keep the pedal to the metal. Our running game Is non existing so pass and keep scoring.

  • JMonge

    Picking Claibourne in first round and giving him money they did, Has been a big disappointment! I think it was a mistake getting rid of Jenkins and doing things a little different! Although I’m not Owner or coach. It just seems every since Jimmy Johnson “disappeared” nothing good has come of any season since?

  • Buudha

    When you have a good defensive line that can apply pressure and sacks, you get pro bowl MVP corners (remember Larry Brown). Unfortunately Dallas brass simply don’t get it. Football is and always will be about offensive and defensive lines first. Pass protection, all pro QB’s and running backs. Defensive line pressure, all pro linebackers and secondary’s. Still gotta know how to coach them though. Why you think same coaches always winning!

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